I’m a guy, and that means I like shiny, fast things like Ducatis and Subaru WRXs. So when I first say the user interface for the 360 Browser I thought, “Woo, that looks fast”.
Of course, in 2011, with many good browsers to choose from, (pages of them in Apple’s iPhone apps) you have to have a good reason to stop using the entirely-useful built-in Safari browser from Apple and pick one or several particular alternatives.
The first thing I did when I opened the application was to read the introduction/directions pages… Well, of COURSE I didn’t do that! This is a browser, and I wanted to browse with it and check out the shiny wheel-interface. After all, browsers should, by this point, be intuitive, since they have been around since Christmas Day 1990. (Trivia – In the fall of 1990, Berners-Lee took about a month to develop the first web browser on a NeXT computer, and was communicating with the world’s first web server at info.cern.ch on December 25, 1990.)
The first two times I tried to use the 360 Browser interface wheel I got this message, “Are you sure you want to delete your entire history?” While I didn’t have any history to speak of this browser, this is running on a new Apple iPhone 4s and I didn’t want to delete MY history back to 1963, so I clicked, “No”.
The browser and I were not getting off to a good start, so I started over. I tried the interface. I used the tabs (yes, this browser offers tabbed browsing), and while the interface is pretty, in many cases the pretty gets in the way. How? Those wheel icons? (They don’t actually spin, by the way.) Once you are in the browser and actually using it, you find that you don’t use them that much, and when you do want to use them, the non-standard icons make you have to think about what you are doing (so as not to delete your history for example).
There are icons that look like dinner plates on their sides (several), icons that look like hourglasses with bent arrows over them, icons that look like Ts (several of these), and the big round buttons that say 360 FS or 360 Arc on them? They don’t do anything but close the wheel interface. This reminds me of certain flashy car stereos that you can’t actually operate while you are driving without dangerous attention lapses.
On the good side of things, the application seems quite stable, the tabs work well (though they do take up screen real estate), and it is a pretty app.
If you want a unique-looking browser to show off to friends, and you don’t mind taking the time to learn a new interface, this browser should work for you. However, if your primary interest in a browser is to use it as a tool to navigate the web as rapidly and efficiently as possible you may find that another application, or the Safari browser, works better.
Digital Poke, the app developer, says, “It’s the browser that adapts to you instead of you adapting to the browser.” I disagree. I think that if you choose this browser, you will be the one doing the adapting.
This review was provided by Dana Kincaid.
- 360 Arcs TM: true full screen browser
- Magic Bar: pull the web page down and release to access toggle-able bookmark bar
- Slide-able Bottom Bar: slide to play, download, access plugins and browse
- Firefox Sync: get your favorite desktop browser on your iOS device
- Download & File Manager, Media Player: browser includes a download manager and file manager with Dropbox, zip/unzip, file preview and music player
- Some confusing UI elements
- Error message about history deletion
- Mobile Safari is a better browser for surfing the web